Notice Regarding Data Security Incident
North Country Orthopaedic Group (NCOG) is committed to our patients, their treatment, and their families – as well as protecting the privacy and security of their personal information. We learned certain systems within our network environment were affected by a data security incident. The incident resulted in the unauthorized access and/or acquisition of certain files from the network, which occurred on August 31, 2023. Upon learning of the issue, we commenced an immediate and thorough investigation and alerted law enforcement.
As part of the investigation, we engaged leading third-party cybersecurity professionals experienced in handling these incidents. The investigation aimed to determine the extent of the activity and whether individual personal and health information, if any, may have been accessed or acquired by an unauthorized party. After a comprehensive investigation and extensive manual file review on September 6, 2023, we discovered that certain files involved in the incident contained individual personal or health information. The information involved includes individual names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, medical information, health insurance information, and medical diagnosis information.
We are notifying individuals of the incident via letter and offering complimentary credit monitoring services to eligible individuals. We remind individuals to remain vigilant in reviewing financial account statements on a regular basis for any fraudulent activity. We also recommend that our patients and their families review the explanation of benefits statements and follow up on any items not recognized. Please see the “Other Important Information” section below for additional information to help further safeguard your personal data.
As a team of dedicated and caring professionals, we understand the importance of safeguarding individual personal information. We remain fully committed to maintaining the privacy of personal information in our possession, and upon learning of the event, took immediate action to protect the individual personal information we maintain. We have reset passwords and enabled multi-factor authentication for all users. Additionally, we continually evaluate and modify our practices to enhance the security and privacy of personal information and are taking measures to augment our existing cybersecurity.
Please accept our apologies that this incident occurred. For further questions or additional information regarding this incident, please contact Katherine Kreutz at email@example.com or (315) 519-5580. A representative will respond to your inquiry in a timely manner. We appreciate your understanding as we respond to this unfortunate incident.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
1. Placing a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File
We recommend that you place an initial 1-year “fraud alert” on your credit files, at no charge. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you personally before they open any new accounts. To place a fraud alert, call any one of the three major credit bureaus at the numbers listed below:
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, they will notify the others.
2. Consider Placing a Security Freeze on Your Credit File
If you are very concerned about becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft, you may request a “Security Freeze” be placed on your credit file, at no charge. A security freeze prohibits, with certain specific exceptions, the consumer reporting agencies from releasing your credit report or any information from it without your express authorization. You may place a security freeze on your credit report by contacting all three nationwide credit reporting companies at the numbers below and following the stated directions or by sending a request in writing, by mail, to all three credit reporting companies:
- Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
- Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094
In order to place the security freeze, you will need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. After receiving your freeze request, each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.
3. Obtaining a Free Credit Report
Under federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the above three major nationwide credit reporting companies. Call 1-877-322-8228 or request your free credit reports online at www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you receive your credit reports, review them for discrepancies. Identify any accounts you did not open or inquiries from creditors that you did not authorize. Verify all information is correct.
If you have questions or notice incorrect information, contact the credit reporting company.
4. Protecting Your Health Information
As a general matter the following practices can help to protect you from medical identity theft:
- Only share your health insurance cards with your health care providers and other family members who are covered under your insurance plan or who help you with your medical care.
- Review your “explanation of benefits” statement which you receive from your health insurance company. Follow up with your insurance company or the care provider for any items you do not recognize. If necessary, contact the care provider on the explanation of benefits statement and ask for copies of medical records from the date of the potential disclosure (August 31, 2023) to current date.
- Ask your insurance company for a current year-to-date report of all services paid for you as a beneficiary. Follow up with your insurance company or care provider for any items you do not recognize.
5. Additional Helpful Resources
Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Checking your credit report periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.
If you find suspicious activity on your credit reports or have reason to believe your information is being misused, call your local law enforcement agency and file a police report. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report, as many creditors will want the information it contains to absolve you of the fraudulent debts. You may also file a complaint with the FTC by contacting them on the web at www.ftc.gov/idtheft, by phone at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338), or by mail at:
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Your complaint will be added to the FTC’s Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, where it will be accessible to law enforcement for their investigations. In addition, you may obtain information from the FTC about fraud alerts and security freezes.
If your personal information has been used to file a false tax return, to open an account or to attempt to open an account in your name or to commit fraud or other crimes against you, you may file a police report in the city in which you currently reside.